Mass. man’s trial in girlfriend’s death is delayed
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — The murder trial of an Easthampton man charged with killing his girlfriend has been postponed while the defendant undergoes an evaluation to determine whether he is competent enough to represent himself.
Ryan Welch’s trial, scheduled to start Monday in Hampshire Superior Court, was delayed during a court hearing Wednesday. No new date was set.
A judge said a court-appointed doctor would need “considerable additional time” to evaluate whether Welch is competent to act as his own lawyer, The Daily Hampshire Gazette (http://bit.ly/1aR0V9p ) reported.
A judge ruled last month that the Welch, 38, could act as his own attorney after he fired his court-appointed lawyer. Welch said at the time that he disagreed with the defense strategy. While the lawyer was pursuing a strategy of determining the level of Welch’s criminal responsibility, Welch maintains that he didn’t kill Jessica Ann Pripstein.
The judge granted a request by Welch’s new standby counsel to have a defense expert present at Welch’s evaluations.
Welch is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to the February 2012 slaying of Pripstein in her apartment. Pripstein, 39, died from “sharp-force injury” to her neck, according to the autopsy report.
Welch was also found in the apartment, bleeding from a self-inflicted neck wound. He told police he found Pripstein’s body and was so distraught he tried to kill himself.
Information from: Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Mass.), http://www.gazettenet.com